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Dedicated vs Cloud Servers: Which one to choose for your Business?

The strides in information technology have allowed establishments to move from on-premises hosting to the cloud. Cloud servers offer unsurpassed flexibility and agility allowing businesses to meet the fluctuating demands of their operations. Notwithstanding the benefits offered by cloud servers, businesses are increasingly choosing dedicated servers to host critical applications and store sensitive data.

In this blog, we offer a comprehensive breakdown of ‘Dedicated vs Cloud Servers’ on a range of parameters including speed, availability and cost.

Before we dive deep into ‘Dedicated vs Cloud’ comparison, let us understand the concept of cloud and dedicated servers.

In dedicated server hosting, the client leases an entire physical server for their exclusive use. Here, the server resources are used solely by the client as a result of which dedicated servers offer superior performance and speed. A dedicated server offers root access and consequently allows a great deal of control and customization of the server.

In cloud hosting, on the other hand, clients are offered resources through a network of multiple interconnected servers that make up the virtualized ‘cloud’. Here, the entire computing capacity of infrastructure is distributed across locations and delivered to several clients simultaneously. This makes cloud solutions incredibly scalable and flexible. Cloud hosting, however, does not offer root access to the server and hence doesn’t allow for as much customization as a dedicated server.

Speed

Dedicated servers offer better speed than their cloud counterparts. Companies that need fast processing and retrieval of information select dedicated servers. Dedicated servers store and process data locally, so there are fewer hiccups in processing information.

In Linux and Windows dedicated server hosting, the complete processing power of the server is available for the client’s application or website. As a result, requests don’t need to be queued unless all the processing power is used at once (which is rare). For this reason, Linux and Windows dedicated server hosting solutions are suitable for applications that involve CPU intensive load balancing functions.

In contrast, free cloud servers need to go through the Storage Area Network (SAN) to access data. This requires the request to travel through the back-end of the infrastructure. The request also requires to be routed through the hypervisor before it can be handled. This additional processing introduces some latency that cannot be reduced. So, when two or more clients use the same cloud network, they may experience a loss of performance.

Scalability

Both dedicated and cloud servers scale differently. In a dedicated server, the physical hardware is limited by the number of Distributed Antenna System (DAS) arrays available on the server. Dedicated servers can be scaled by adding a drive to the already open bays. If a dedicated server needs additional processing capabilities, the application often needs to be migrated to another server.

Cloud servers can be scaled up and down much more easily. Expanding storage in the cloud does not involve any downtime. Processing in the cloud can, however, be difficult when scaling up. Of course, you can enhance processing power by adding more cores but only to a certain extent.

Cost

Cloud servers normally have a lower entry cost as compared to dedicated servers. This advantage is lost as an organization expands and requires more resources. Cloud hosting plans operate on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ model where you pay only for the resources consumed.

You can scale up by adding resources and scale down by removing resources as the requirements of your business fluctuate. Contrary to what many of us think, the cloud does involve a minimum billing cost that can start around $50.

Unlike cloud servers, dedicated servers are actual pieces of hardware and involve a high entry-cost. Buying, installing and maintaining a dedicated server involves an upfront expenditure that you need to pay whether you use all the resources or not. Of course, these costs can be written off over a period of time. Dedicated servers can cost up to $1000 per package.

Security

Dedicated servers are well-suited for clients that prioritize security above everything. In a dedicated server, your resources are not shared with other clients. So, your file systems and databases remain safeguarded from malicious users and spamming websites.

Cloud servers are not as secure as dedicated ones. And the reasons are quite understandable. Free cloud servers are housed over different locations, so they are vulnerable to attack from different sources. Besides, you have data distributed over multiple nodes, so if you want to remove anything, you will need to remove it from each node.

Migration

Cloud servers have the edge when it comes to migration as they can be provisioned in an instant and are limited only by the underlying node.

In both cloud and dedicated servers, seamless migration is attainable, all it needs is a significant amount of planning. The migration plan should consider both current and future growth in mind. Both the old and new servers need to run concurrently till the new servers take over. Often, the old server is kept as a backup until the new one starts functioning at expected levels.

Server Management and Administration

Unlike cloud hosting, dedicated hosting offers root access to the server. This allows you to access server resources, review performance and optimize settings as needed. Here, you can choose Linux or Windows dedicated server hosting depending on the operating system you need. And, if you are running applications, you can modify the server environment to suit the specific needs of your application.

Dedicated servers offer control over server software and the services it runs. Dedicated hosts offer managed, semi-managed and self-managed services-you can choose any depending on the level of control and customization needed. Cloud servers do not have root access and offer no such perks.

Dedicated vs Cloud: The Final Verdict

Choosing the right hosting solution is a complex task, so you cannot base your decision on a single metric. Important factors to consider are the benefits of each solution, the current requirements of your business and your potential scalability needs.

Still not sure of the hosting solution you should choose for your business? Connect with our technical experts today. We will be glad to answer your queries.

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